Australia’s new car market continues to boom with March sales hitting 106,988 sales according to data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
March’s big numbers represent an increase of 4.4 per cent over March 2017. The cumulative new car sales number for 2018 now sits at 291,538, up 1.5 per cent over the same period last year.  
The gap between SUVs and passenger cars continues to expand, the market share held by SUVs now sits at 42.6 per cent compared to 33.8 per cent share for passenger vehicles.
Light commercial vehicles now command 20.5 per cent market share – the Toyota HiLux remains Australia’s most popular while the Ford Ranger keeps playing the role of bridesmaid. 12,600 HiLux models have found a home this year, an increase of 22.3 per cent.
At the top of the table, Toyota is still the brand to chase. Toyota's first-quarter sales total has exceeded 52,400 vehicles - the brand claims this is its best start to a year in a decade.
Mazda saw a 7 per cent drop in sales but managed to maintain second spot on the back of its popular SUV models.
Mitsubishi was the big mover, the Japanese brand set a new March record of 8810 sales in what was a huge finish to the Japanese financial year to secure third spot on the podium. Despite having an ageing fleet, sharp pricing and generous equipment levels are keeping the brand competitive.
Another brand from the land of the rising sun, Honda has also found its rhythm. On the back of the new CR-V, the brand enjoyed 80 per cent growth when compared to March 2017. Honda’s first quarter results are up a massive 55 per cent.
All eyes are on Holden, the former heavy hitter stayed in the top ten, just. The new Equinox has been a bit of a flop in a market dominated by SUVs. The Commodore managed a reasonable 990 units, however, many of these are likely demonstrators registered by dealers, next month will tell a more accurate tale.
Peugeot’s new distributor and new range haven’t translated into improved sales, only 163 Peugeot sales were recorded in March, a surprising result considering the availability of the 3008 and 5008 SUVs.
At the premium end, British marque Jaguar fell 22 per cent, but a rebound thanks to the new E-PACE is likely, while Volvo found some form (up 35.5 per cent) on the back of the excellent XC60.
Top 10 selling new vehicles – March 2018
Toyota HiLux – 4348
Ford Ranger – 4064
Mazda 3 – 2780
Hyundai i30 – 2719
Mazda CX-5 – 2261
Top 10 selling vehicle brands – March 2018
Toyota – 18,878
Mazda – 9723
Mitsubishi – 8810
Hyundai – 8443
Ford - 6687
Nissan – 6191
Honda – 5586
Subaru – 5195
Volkswagen – 5137
Holden – 5116
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